Table of Contents
Event: Monaco Grand Prix
Date: Sunday, May 28, 2023, 9:00 a.m. ET
Circuit: Circuit de Monaco
Location: Monte Carlo, Monaco
Circuit length: 3.337 Km
Race length: 220.286 km
Driver: Sergio Perez Red Bull (2022), Max Verstappen Red Bull (2021), Lewis Hamilton Mercedes (2019)
Constructor: Red Bull (2022, 2021), Mercedes (2019)
Fastest lap: 1:12:909 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes (2021)
HOW THE MONACO GRAND PRIX SETS UP
After just five complete races on the 2023 F1 calendar, Red Bull has already surged ahead of the field to hold first place in the Constructors Championship (224 pts.), while Max Verstappen (119 pts.) and Sergio Lopez (105 pts.) are 1-2 in the Drivers Championship. Monegasque Charles Leclerc will start Monaco ranked 7th with 34 points. Ferrari, Mercedes, and Aston Martin are racing for second through fourth overall in the Constructors.
In key storylines leading up to Monaco and after the cancellation of the previous week’s scheduled race in Imola, McLaren is high on Oscar Piastri despite a slow start, Mercedes is planning a big technical upgrade for Monaco that may not be suited to the circuit, and Fernando Alonso is making the most of his start to 2023 on the track, as well as the dating scene.
Let’s get into what makes Monaco a unique race and how the circuit and each team’s technical adaptations here may affect the outcome here in 2023.
THE CIRCUIT de MONACO & WHY THIS WILL BE A TRICKY RACE
While iconic, Monaco is far from the typical F1 circuit. It’s very tight, windy, and slow by comparison to most other stops on the F1 calendar. Nelson Piquet described driving around Monaco as “like riding a bicycle around your living room.” In addition to close-quarters racing with little room for overtakes, the Circuit de Monaco features a number of surface changes, making tire management a challenge here.
Because of these unique conditions, top teams have a special setup just for Monaco (think: a specific rear wing, or suspension designed just for this circuit). After Monaco, they’ll move on to introducing broader-based adaptations more suitable to common F1 circuits. Teams usually wait to introduce these changes until after Monaco because, it’s such a unique circuit, you really can’t get a good read on how a ‘normally’ configured F1 car performs here.
Despite this, multiple teams are said to be introducing broader technical adaptations in Monaco that they will carry forward for the rest of the season. Mercedes has the most on the line with a plethora of adaptations planned for their wing, floor, and troublesome side pods. It’s my opinion (and others) that introducing these adaptations in Monaco is an ill-advised strategy. I expect to see Lewis Hamilton, George Russell, and Mercedes underperform here as a result.
MONACO GRAND PRIX RACE PREDICTIONS
As of this writing, the odds to win outright in Monaco are as follows: Max Verstappen -110, Sergio Perez +285, Charles Leclerc +380, and Fernando Alonso +650. Alonso’s running mate, Lance Stroll, is unlikely to podium in Monaco, but I think the Canadian has a chance to finish ahead of both George Russell of Mercedes and Charles Leclerc of Ferrari, to help build Aston Martin’s lead in the Constructors Championship.
That said, winning in Monaco is all about where you qualify on Saturday when earning a spot on the front row of the grid for race day is most often a precursor of victory. Barring crashes and technical failures, Monaco is often one of the more predictable races to call just before the lights go out on Sunday.
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